Tucked between France’s involvement in this week’s European Union Summit in Brussels and Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, people over here in the land of cheese and snails are talking about Frank Ntilikina.
The draft started at 2:30 AM Paris time so, understandably, not every major channel had any reporting on him.
The first news channel that I heard speak about Ntilikina was BFMTV, one of France’s main news conglomerates. This is their initial story about Frank’s selection by “Les Knicks de New York,” as they’re called here. The headline translates to “The New York Knicks are waiting on Frank Ntilikina, the highest drafted Frenchman of all time.”
BFMTV also had something on Ntilikina in their bottomline, which translated to: “Frank Ntilikina becomes first French NBA lottery pick since Joakim Noah.” Don’t remind us.
I filmed their TV report on Ntilikina. Don’t judge my open tabs.
Of interest, he speaks of how honored he is to have been drafted and that he is very motivated for everything that is to come. Also, his goal is now shifting to having a “long career in the NBA.”
In their written story, they have a paragraph about his insane schedule. It translates to: “The 1 meter, 96-centimeter point guard who plays ‘ProA’ ball for Strasbourg was voted best young player in ‘ProA’ in 2016 and 2017, and has two European championships among his accomplishments; a U-16 championship in 2014 and a U-18 championship in 2015. He is set to leave Thursday night to return to France to compete in the fifth an deciding game of the ‘ProA’ finals against Chalon, Friday night.”
The only other news channel that had a report on Frank Ntilikina was “Cnews,” which is essentially MSNBC to “Canal+’s” NBC. Here is that report, don’t judge my small TV I never use it.
Basically nothing to see here. Most of the important stuff is in English. He even says he’s someone who “trusts the process.”
We gettin’ the No. 1 overall pick next year, baby!
Next, we have L’Equipe. France’s ESPN, I guess you can say.
On TV, they were showing a Petanque game (a sport similar to bocce ball) between France and Thailand, so that was no help. I eventually checked out their website to see if they had an article up, and they did. This is the article. Essentially, they talk about Frank being the highest drafted Frenchman since his soon-to-be-teammate (ugh) Joakim Noah in 2007, and how he’ll “barely have enough time to savour it” because of his involvement in Strasbourg’s do-or-die game Friday night.
They also have a very interesting line that translates to: “With the Knicks, Frank Ntilikina can hope to become the backup to Derrick Rose—New York’s current point guard.” (ugh).
L’Equipe also came out with this brief about his record-breaking draft position for a French player, this Q&A, this all-you-need-to-know article—which has a line that reads “[Frank] was finally picked eighth by the New York Knicks. The franchise is taking a gamble on Derrick Rose, who will look to get in shape during the summer (Porzingis?).” All I can say about that line is “OHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”
Finally, they have an article about Ntilikina and fellow Frenchman Mathias Lessort, who was drafted 50th by the Sixers.
Le Monde, one of the world’s best known major newspapers, had this story about Ntilikina. In it, they talk about how Frank is headed to “a prestigious club going through some very turbulent times.”
This transcribed Q&A done by news conglomerate “20 Minutes” has more of the same. Prestigious franchise, surreal experience, has to go back for game 5, the like.
In this interesting piece done by Le Point, they talk about how Ntilikina “seduced America.” Apparently, he didn’t come over as a wide-eyed, starstruck 18-year old who didn’t know how to talk to the media. Rather, like Kristaps Porzingis before him, he seemed very much at ease in interview situations, and quickly endeared himself to American sports journalists.
This article by Paris Match tells us, in bold letters, “Not to compare him with Tony Parker.” Firstly, because Frank is much taller than Parker. But more interestingly, it would be too much pressure for Frank. The article says that, alas, there will be just one “Tipi,” (affectionate nickname for Tony Parker), just as there can only be one “Zizou,” (affectionate nickname for French soccer legend and current Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane).
No pressure, kid.
For the sake of being as complete as possible, and in acknowledgement of the fact that these articles are sort of going off the same quotes, here are the other articles. They are all essentially more of the same:
Go buy some French beer and celebrate, or something.